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Off-Grid Solar Panels: What You Need to Know

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As the sun offers an abundant supply of energy, therefore solar energy is becoming increasingly affordable across the world. Solar installations are skyrocketing, and the industry continues to increase solar capacity. Off-grid systems in Ontario allow you to be completely independent of your home's electricity needs. Let us learn more about these systems.


Why Do You Need to Consider an Off-Grid Solar System?


Off-grid solar systems can significantly reduce the environmental footprint by supplying an emissions-free and clean energy source. Thus, it is great for your wallet as well as the environment. It is known to reduce the carbon footprint, greenhouse emissions, and carbon dioxide gas. Off-grid systems in Ontario are not only an upfront investment but also save you money on electric bills over the long term. However, the amount you save depends on several factors like your location, how much sunlight your solar panels receive and what your local utility company charges for electricity. 

How Off-Grid Systems Work?


The battery bank is the most critical component of a fully functioning off-grid solar system. Your home's electricity is independent of a utility company; it needs power storage when the solar panels cannot take in enough solar energy to supply household needs. Sufficient solar panels are required in order to power your home with an off-grid system while also sending excess energy to the batteries. Your house can draw power from these batteries after the sun goes down or on cloudy days. Hence, it would help to have a large battery bank to store the energy needed to operate electric appliances, lights and technology.


What are the Requirements of an Off-Grid Solar System?


  • Solar panels: Off-grid systems usually use monocrystalline solar panels since they provide more efficient power than polycrystalline panels, which is essential when off-grid. The number of panels required depends on the electricity usage and load in your home.
  • Charge controller: this is critical for keeping the batteries sufficiently charged without overloading them. It adjusts the flow of energy between the panels and the batteries. It would help if you went for a maximum power point tracking controller rather than a pulse width modulation controller to prevent battery overload.
  • Inverter: Inverter is required to convert the DC power stored in the batteries into your home's AC power. It should be large enough to handle peak electricity load in your home.
  • Batteries: enough batteries are needed to store a sufficient amount of electricity. The best type of battery for off-grid systems is the lithium phosphate battery, which allows you to expand the battery bank without compromising its integrity. 


Applications of Off-Grid Solar Power


The scalability and modularity of off-grid systems are its biggest advantages. It refers to the degree to which a system's components may be separated and recombined for flexibility and variety. Off-grid systems work at all levels, from small devices like solar phone chargers to a factory. They charge a portable phone or tablet charger, generate electricity for small cabins, and power the appliances in an RV and small energy-efficient homes.

How to Size Off-Grid Solar Systems?


This is one of the first steps to decide on when installing an off-grid solar system. The size of the system will affect the kind of equipment you need, how much work is required for installation and the project's total cost. You can figure out the number you need in two different ways, based on your current usage and the load evaluation. 


Based on usage


This option is suitable if you aim to maintain your current lifestyle as you switch from a grid-tier to an off-grid system. This can be done by referring to your monthly power bills to determine your electricity usage in kW/hour. The off-grid system can then be sized to allow for solar inefficiencies. 


Based on Load Evaluation


  • Calculate the total electricity usage needs by listing all the appliances you plan to use and the number of hours you will use each one. It will help you calculate the power consumption of each appliance and your total power consumption over a day. This will eventually allow you to size your solar panel array and the solar battery storage. 
  • Calculate instantaneous load requirements by determining how many appliances you may run simultaneously, as it will help you calculate the wattage requirements, which are essential to know for sizing the inverter properly. 
  • Decide on the battery storage capacity by determining whether you want to cover usage for one day or have an extra backup capacity. The general rule is to have enough storage to cover at least 2-3- days of use during the highest usage time of the year.
  • You should design a system around your number by figuring out the sizes of the crucial components, like the solar panels, battery storage, and inverter. This information will help your vendor to customize a complete off-grid kit for you.


The Future of New Energy


Off-grid solar systems have become extremely popular since they offer a sustainable energy source. Home and business owners can be independent of their power needs as they do not rely on external sources.


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